Aesthetic Adjectives Lack Uniform Behavior

Authors
Shen-yi Liao
University of Puget Sound
Aaron Meskin
University of Leeds
Abstract
The goal of this short paper is to show that esthetic adjectives—exemplified by “beautiful” and “elegant”—do not pattern stably on a range of linguistic diagnostics that have been used to taxonomize the gradability properties of adjectives. We argue that a plausible explanation for this puzzling data involves distinguishing two properties of gradable adjectives that have been frequently conflated: whether an adjective’s applicability is sensitive to a comparison class, and whether an adjective’s applicability is context-dependent.
Keywords aesthetic adjectives  gradable adjectives  predicates of personal taste  experimental semantics  experimental philosophy  experimental philosophical aesthetics  context  comparison class
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DOI 10.1080/0020174X.2016.1208927
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Citations of this work BETA

Experimental Philosophy of Aesthetics.Florian Cova, Amanda Garcia & Shen-yi Liao - 2015 - Philosophy Compass 10 (12):927-939.
Aesthetic Adjectives: Experimental Semantics and Context-Sensitivity.Shen-yi Liao & Aaron Meskin - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94 (2):371–398.
A Defence of Experimental Philosophy in Aesthetics.Clotilde Torregrossa - forthcoming - Inquiry : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-23.

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